Manipur students protest assault by NSCN-IM, call 100-hour blockade on national highway

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GUWAHATI, September 8: Protesting extortion and atrocities perpetrated on its members allegedly by the Isak-Muivah faction of Naga insurgent group “National Socialist Council of Nagalim” (NSCN-IM), the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) has called for a 100-hour blockade on one of the two national highways in the state beginning Saturday midnight.
The blockade was called as the state government failed to arrest some NSCN-IM rebels within 72 hours, a deadline which the AMSU had set earlier. The insurgents had allegedly made a group of students and artistes to pay illegal taxes and assaulted them.
The incident took place near Nungba in the hill district of Tamenglong on September 3 when a group of AMSU members and singers was on its way back to Imphal after attending a function in neighbouring Assam. The AMSU alleged the rebels intercepted the group and asked it to pay “taxes”.
When it resisted, some, including AMSU general secretary S Anil, were beaten up by the extremists. They were allowed to leave only after payment of Rs.500 by each of the group members as taxes, the AMSU alleged.When news about the incident broke, it triggered an outrage in Imphal Valley.
On Friday, members of the AMSU burned the effigies of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. The protestors demanded that all camps of the NSCN-IM in Manipur be destroyed by the government.
The territorial limit of the NSCN-IM’s ceasefire with the Centre is within Nagaland and as per ceasefire ground rules, the rebels must keep themselves confined to the designated camps. However, they also operate in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh besides Nagaland.
The Manipur CM said the state government was trying hard to arrest the perpetrators of the crime but the AMSU is not amused as evident from its calling the blockade.Earlier, the NSCN-IM washed its hand of the incident and termed it as “unfounded” and “malicious” allegation.
“It is advised that allegations are not hurled at the NSCN-IM on the basis of mere speculations and suspicions. Elements, desirous of tarnishing the reputation of NSCN-IM and creating problems, are working day and out, for which we must all be very watchful,” the NSCN-IM had said in a statement. (TNIE)